Article Title

Jigsaw Semantics


In the last decade the enterprise of formal semantics has been under attack from several philosophical and linguistic perspectives, and it has certainly suffered from its own scattered state, which hosts quite a variety of paradigms which may seem to be incompatible. It will not do to try and answer the arguments of the critics, because the arguments are often well-taken. The negative conclusions, however, I believe are not. The only adequate reply seems to be a constructive one, which puts several pieces of formal semantics, in particular dynamic semantics, together again. In this paper I will try and sketch an overview of tasks, techniques, and results, which serves to at least suggest that it is possible to develop a coherent overall picture of undeniably important and structural phenomena in the interpretation of natural language. The idea is that the concept of meanings as truth conditions after all provides an excellent start for an integrated study of the meaning and use of natural language, and that an extended notion of goal directed pragmatics naturally complements this picture. None of the results reported here are really new, but we think it is important to re-collect them.

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